Performance Collaboration – An Essential Element of a High Performance Culture

How can a leader and direct report respectfully and clearly work together for optimal results? We used to refer to this as “performance management” but in many organizations that term is used to describe what happens when someone’s performance has become a significant problem, so we needed to use a different term without that baggage. With Performance Collaboration the leader first takes individual and collective ownership of results, which then allows the direct report to own their own performance. This is Accountability through Engagement. There are some basic steps to try.

When Performance Collaboration is done well, the yearly performance evaluation is what we call a “non-event.” That is, there are no surprises. It’s just formalizing on paper what’s been discussed all year. When it’s more like the Academuy Awards, where with trembling hands someone opens the envelope, it’s a sign of a huge problem!

These are factors to consider before having a performance collaboration dialogue with an individual or team:

Doing these two leadership tasks creates the right conditions for ongoing Performance Collaboration dialogues. Performance Collaboration does not just happen with individual direct reports. These steps apply to sub-teams within the larger team or organization as well. Further, Performance Collaboration dialogues happen with both an overall role and with individual tasks that are assigned. In fact, it is essential that this process first happens with an overall role before it is applied to short-term tasks.

To make it simpler we’ll use the example of a leader collaborating with a direct report about a particular task or short-term role. Please keep in mind, however, that this should first happen with an individual’s overall role, and that it applies to groups of individuals as well.

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